by Ferdinand Patinio
MANILA — The Bureau of Immigration (BI) on Thursday said that charges will be filed against seven Chinese nationals who were arrested for illegal sand dredging in Zambales.
In a statement, BI Commissioner Jaime Morente said the foreigners were apprehended in Masinloc, Zambales for working without proper visas and engaging in illegal sand dredging activities on Wednesday.
“The subject arrested foreigners violated not only our immigration laws but also the Philippine Mining Act of 1995 and Executive Order 292,” he said.
“They are seriously threatening national security and interest by stealing our minerals and resources,” the BI chief added.
According to BI Intelligence Officers Ricardo Cabochan and John Mendez, who led the arresting team, three groups searched six vessels which included “Sand Carrier Horner 1” where subjects Chen Shiniu and Chen Shaoshao were found, and “Dredger Warrior 6” which carried Xu Xiansheng, Jiang Xin, Zhao Yihong, Gong Yaan and Xie Yuhong.
Upon initial questioning and verification, the BI said the foreigners presented their passports with tourist visas.
But they were found to be overstaying and working without proper visas or permits.
Immediately after the arrest, the foreign nationals were brought to the BI main office, for further verification and proper inquest proceedings.
BI Intelligence Division chief Fortunato S. Manahan Jr. said that the operation stemmed from a piece of intelligence information and constant coordination with elements from the Philippine National Police (PNP).
The Chinese nationals were jointly arrested by BI Intelligence agents from Manila and Region 3, in coordination and assistance of PNP 305th Maneuver Company Regional Mobile Force Battalion and Regional Special Operations Group in Region 3. (PNA)